FILM fans, rejoice – after more than a year of streaming at home, cinemas finally reopen their doors on Monday.
And going to the flicks tops the list of most anticipated experiences post- lockdown.
In a survey by the Film Distributors’ Association, 59 per cent of us can’t wait to dip into the popcorn in front of the big screen.
And with many movie releases held back especially for the return of big screens, there will be a flurry of great blockbusters to enjoy.
From 007 to Peter Rabbit, it’s time to enjoy a classic night at the movies with Laura Stott’s round-up of the hottest 2021 releases on the horizon.
Fast and Furious 9 (tbc) – June 2
Buckle up for another wild ride of mega stunts, special effects and super-charged car chases in this latest instalment.
Dominic Toretto (Vin Diesel) and his gang battle the most skilled assassin and high-performance driver they’ve ever met.
Charlize Theron is also behind the wheel.
Jungle Cruise (tbc) – July 30
A Disneyland theme park ride is the inspiration for this big-screen caper.
Emily Blunt and Dwayne Johnson team up as a riverboat captain and a scientist who set off down the Amazon to seek out an ancient magical cure they hope will change the future of medicine.
Jack Whitehall brings extra laughs in this Disney comedy/ adventure.
No Time To Die (tbc) – Oct 8
Finally, Daniel Craig’s last outing as James Bond is hitting the big screen.
The 25th 007 movie, which also stars Ana de Armas, is the most anticipated ever following a delay of more than a year.
But fans will know exactly what they are in for as soon as 007 says: “The name’s Bond . . . James Bond.”
Gucci (tbc) – Nov 27
Ridley Scott directs this highly anticipated biopic/ crime adventure based on the true story of Patrizia Reggiani.
The glam socialite, was charged with plotting the murder of her former husband Maurizio Gucci in 1995.
He was the head of the famous Italian fashion house and grandson of the founder.
Lady Gaga plays Reggiani, with Adam Driver as Maruizio.
Top Gun: Maverick (tbc) – July 2
We’re back in the skies and the Danger Zone in the long awaited sequel to the 1986 original.
Val Kilmer as Iceman and Tom Cruise as Pete ‘Maverick’ Mitchell are back in the cockpit.
After 37 years, Maverick is now a top pilot trainer preparing new recruits for a dangerous mission.
The Addams Family 2 (tbc) – Oct 8
Morticia, Gomez, Wednesday and the rest of the Addams family are back, and this time they’re animated.
Creepy and kooky, mysterious and spooky and with some top-notch casting, including Snoop Dogg as Cousin It and Bette Midler as Grandma.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (PG) – Nov 11
The 1984 classic is given a reboot, but members of the original crew – including Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Sigourney Weaver are back to tackle more ghostly goings-on.
A family move to a new town with a secret ghostbusting legacy. But who you gonna call?
Black Widow (tbc) – July 9
The first Marvel Phase 4 big screen release and 24th adventure in the Marvel Universe stars Scarlett Johansson as Natasha Romanoff, dealing with the legacy of her past as a KGB double agent.
It’s set after the events of Captain America: Civil War and guaranteed to deliver classic superhero thrills..
Suicide Squad 2 (tbc) – August 6
Margot Robbie is back as Harley Quinn, alongside Bloodsport, Peacemaker and their motley crew of assembled supervillains.
They join top-secret Task Force X and are sent to a remote, enemy occupied island.
Director James Gunn returns for this sequel based on the DC Comics team of the same name.
The Eternals (tbc) – Nov 5
Another Marvel Phase 4 release, starring Angelina Jolie and Game Of Thrones actors Kit Harington and Richard Madden.
The Eternals are powerful immortals who help shape Earth’s history.
Spider-Man: No Way Home (tbc) – Dec 17
Tom Holland returns as the superhero, following on from Spider-Man: Far From Home.
Believed to be the most ambitious Marvel Spidey adventure yet, but details are still scarce at the moment.
Cruella (12A) – May 28
This is a live action prequel of Disney’s animated classic 101 Dalmatians, starring Emma Stone, Emma Thompson and Mark Strong.
The action, set in 1970s punk rock London, takes us back to Cruella de Vil’s early days.
Cruella (Emma Stone) meets fashionista Baroness Von Hellman (Emma Thompson), who unleashes her evil exploits, a name change, and her obsession with spotty canine fur.
The Paw Patrol Movie (U) – Aug 13
Based on the popular Nickelodeon TV series, the animated adventures of techy kid Ryder and his puppy pals hits cinemas for the first time.
Crime- fighting canines Chase, Marshall, Rubble, Zuma, Rocky and Skye must save the day when a rival starts causing chaos in Adventure City.
Kim Kardashian is just one of the big names providing the voices.
Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway (U) – out now
James Corden is back for more animated carroty comic capers based on the tales of Beatrix Potter’s mischievous bunny.
This time in the feud between Peter (Corden) and grouchy gardener Mr McGregor (Domhnall Gleeson) our rogue rabbit hero escapes the garden and enters the big wide world, where he has to decide what kind of animal he wants to be.
Ron’s Gone Wrong (tbc) – Oct 22
Disney animated adventure where every child’s best friend is a digitally connected device – but 11-year-old Barney discovers his own malfunctioning robot best buddy, Ron, isn’t quite what he expects.
In a world revolving around social media, the two must figure out together how to be proper pals.
Downton Abbey 2 (tbc) – Dec 22
The aristocratic Crawley family return for their second big-screen outing.
The cast from the TV show – including Hugh Bonneville, Laura Carmichael, Michelle Dockery, Matthew Goode, Elizabeth McGovern and Dame Maggie Smith, are joined by Dominic West.
Writer and creator Julian Fellowes again pens the latest story of the lives and loves of the blue-blooded family and their servants.
Respect (12A) – August 13
Jennifer Hudson flexes her vocal cords once more on the big screen.
The Dreamgirls star plays the Queen of Soul in director Liesl Tommy’s biopic of legendary singer Aretha Franklin.
It tells the story of Franklin’s musical journey from her church choir days to stardom in the 1960s, with all the greatest hits.
Forest Whitaker and Mary J Blige also star in this musical treat.
West Side Story (tbc) – December 10
Stephen Spielberg's version of the Broadway and 60s movie classic has been hotly anticipated.
It stars Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez and Rita Moreno, who was in the original movie.
And you’ll be tapping your foot and singing along to the classic tunes, as the kids from different backgrounds fall in love in New York City.
A Quiet Place Part II (15) – May 28
John Krasinski directs this tense horror sequel, which picks up with the Abbott family immediately after the deadly events of the first film.
Following the invasion of the creepy creatures, which hunt only by sound, the family – led by Evelyn Abbot (Emily Blunt) – must continue fighting for survival against the chilling blind predators and other unknown threats.
Escape Room 2 (tbc) – July 16
Picking up where the 2019 movie left off, this sequel should supply even more big-screen slasher horror thrills.
Starring Taylor Russell and Logan Miller, cinemagoers can expect more psychological scares from inside the terrifying escape room where the rules of the game challenge you to break free, if you can…
WHERE TO GET YOUR FLICKS FIX
If you don’t fancy a multiplex, there are plenty of other options for watching films this summer.
From drive-throughs to themed nights, outdoor events and kooky screenings, here is our pick of the alternative flicks.
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- THE LUNA CINEMA DRIVE-IN, Knebworth House, Stevenage, Herts, and other UK venues (from £37.50, lunadriveincinema.co.uk). Palatial English stately homes host Luna Drive-In movie events this summer with Covid-safe screenings of classics ranging from Back To The Future to The Greatest Showman. Speakers are provided to save your car batteries and street food is on offer too. Other venues include Blenheim Palace, Oxon, and Tatton Park, Manchester. From May onwards.
- SUMMER SCREENS, Coventry Cathedral, Warks; Old Town Bowl, Swindon; and other venues (from £15, summerscreens.co.uk). Enjoy family friendly al-fresco screenings at venues around the UK with singalong movies including Dirty Dancing and Mamma Mia! plus Pretty Woman as well as new releases including Peter Rabbit 2. Seating choices range from deckchairs and picnic pitches to posh gazebos.
- SECRET CINEMA, London Venue tbc, (from £49, secretcinema.org). This immersive cinema experience lets you step inside your favourite films and helps bring them to life. Expect theatrics and drama, action and excitement as you arrive at a secret location to play a leading role in the scripts you love. Events return in July with an outdoor interactive ‘Time Of Your Life’ Dirty Dancing experience.
- MOONLIGHT FLICKS, Chester Cathedral and other venues (from £14.50, moonlightflicks.co.uk). Enjoy socially distanced screenings under the stars in three locations around Cheshire, including Chester Cathedral. You can pre-order snacks, pizza, popcorn, ice cream and drinks while watching movies including Grease and Jurassic Park. Venues can get muddy so dress appropriately!
- BACKYARD CINEMA, Capital Studios, Wandsworth, London (from £19.99 backyardcinema.co.uk). Glam up and don your sunglasses for this alternative cinema experience, which will transport you to LA or Miami with sandy shores, palm trees, cocktails and a choice of classic and current films to match. OK, the beaches are really in South West London but that’s all part of the fun.
- DAISY DUKES DRIVE-UP CINEMA, Middlesbrough and other UK venues (from £25 daisydukesdriveincinema.co.uk). With venues including Leeds, Bristol, Stoke, Sheffield and Cambridge, these fun, family friendly, 1950s themed touring drive-ins show blockbusters on huge LED screens, alongside additional shorts from local film-makers. And you can make a night of it with extra entertainment including bingo, car quizzes and karaoke.